Winthrop sports week marked by season openers, tournament play

This is a big week for Winthrop athletics.

The men's soccer team, seeded No. 1, plays in the Big South Conference tournament starting Thursday in Conway.

The volleyball team has two matches remaining before the conference tournament begins Nov. 20 in Asheville.

The men's and women's basketball teams tip off the season this weekend. The men are at home Friday, at South Carolina on Sunday and at Akron on Tuesday. The women have home games at 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

And today is national signing day for the basketball.

• MEN'S SOCCER: The men's soccer team is going for its third Big South tournament title. The Eagles won the tournament in 2002 and 2006. They play No. 8 seed VMI Thursday afternoon at 2 on the campus of Coastal Carolina.

Winthrop beat the Keydets, 4-0, at Eagle Field on Oct. 12.

• RANKINGS: After finishing the regular season 13-5, 6-2 in the league, Winthrop remained 11th in the latest NSCAA/adidas South Atlantic Region rankings. The Eagles were No. 48 in's top 48.

• PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Winthrop midfielder Matt Lacey has been selected Big South men's player of the week.

Lacey, a junior from Norwich, England, kicked the game-winner against Coastal Carolina on Nov. 5 to give Winthrop the regular-season championship and the No. 1 seed.

"You just don't see shots like that," associate head coach Dan Ridenhour said. "He could have dribbled in another 10 to 15 yards but the ball came up a little for him. It was set perfectly for him. All the keeper could do was watch."

The win at Coastal Carolina was the Eagles' first win in Conway since 1991.

Lacey was also named to the and Soccer America National Teams of the Week.

• BIRTHDAY GOAL: Matt Skonicki scored his ninth goal of the season in Winthrop's 3-2 win at Coastal Carolina on Nov. 5, his birthday. His mother, Barbara, was tuned in to the game via the Internet from Largo, Fla. She reports that he scored the goal at the exact time he was born.

• GOLF HONORS: Senior Kelly Manders was named Co-Men's golfer of the week.

Manders tied for sixth at The Hummingbird Intercollegiate with an even-par 73-69-142, his best finish of the fall and second top 10 finish in four events. He shot 69 for the fourth time this fall.